back to article The Return of iTuneski

Little more than a month after it collapsed under pressure from several superpowers of the Western world - including the US government and three major record labels - Russia's AllOfMP3 is making a comeback. The music download service has already relaunched its website, and a new blog post claims that cut-rate tunes are close …

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  1. b shubin

    Sensible legal opinion

    sorry, not used to those, i live in the US.

    a court actually applied the laws of the jurisdiction in which the event occurred, instead of caving to the "sole remaining Superpower" and the lobbyists that run it.

    now there's something you don't see every day.

    whether the law is practical and fair is another matter, but US law has rarely been practical or fair recently (DMCA, Patriot, FISA, etc.), so that discussion has nowhere to go.

    whatever can effectively push down the average cost of a digital download is fine by me at this point. content is still impractically expensive, considering the very low promotion and distribution costs for online media. net win for the customer.

  2. tony trolle

    mmmmm.....

    thinks!!!! any small countries out there need a small cut of profits from this business idea. could be more than their GNP. lol

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But they're still ripping everyone off

    There is still no evidence that the bona fide owners of the content are actually being paid; the people who are due royalties aren't getting them. Allofmp3 is competing with the price that former Napster and Bittorrenters are willing to pay, which is effectively next to nothing. First music, like any creative art, isn't a commodity. What it comes down is they don't own the copyright therefore they have no authority to set prices, certainly not to set them at the ridiculous fire-sale prices they're setting now. It isn't their work to buy or sell. One thing is for sure, provoking the record companies like this will not reduce prices in our own countries, all it'll do is make sure they redouble their efforts to squash allofmp3 again.

  4. James

    Its always been 'up'

    Although all the reports have said the sites down, the real users have been going to their sister site www.mp3sparks.com to download music as it accepts the same username and password as the main site. Also the Alltunes client seems to have been unaffected by the site being down as well, so for most its been business as usual anyway!

  5. phil meredith

    Long live iTuneski

    After years of being ripped off by the music industry paying ridiculous amounts for CD's that cost them pence to make, aalofmp3 was "Music to my ears". I could update my collection with albums which had never been top of my list to buy and also stick two fingers up to the men in suits who got fat off of my hard earned. Long live allofmp3, rising from the dead once again!

  6. Andrew Wood

    Hurrah

    AllOfMP3.com always had by far the best delivery platform, choose your own bit rate, massive array of songs available, easy to navigate and platform/device agnostic.

    If the legaility of the site really has been sorted out then its a big win for music fans.

  7. Jaster

    Hmmm...

    Two things

    It appears that this is legal in Russia ... so what is the problem

    The comment above refers to the USA as the sole remaining superpower? What is China then ...

    Has nuclear weapons - yes

    Has the worlds largest army - yes

    Has ICBMS - Yes

    Has a space programme - yes

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't start celebrating yet

    .... because this changes very little.

    Okay, a Russian court decided to "flip the bird" at the US Gov and the lobbyist. Presumably "US Inc" can lodge an appeal, and another, and another. Meanwhile the biz/site would have to remain in limbo pending the results.

    And excluding that - there's still the small matter of how the heck are the punters supposed to pay for the "product" on the site. If MC and Visa are still barring payments, (even though surely - technically speaking - the site has been found to be legal), then how can I buy these aggressively priced tracks - brown envelope full of green-backs to the nearest Russian embassy/consulate? Maybe AllOf can now sue Visa/MC for "illegal" restriction of their business? ;-)

    In a just and sensible world I would have hoped that the record companies and AllOf could have come to an accomodation. Something like a small increase in the track cost - but the license fees go to a RIAA/BPI cartel to divide up, oh and AllOf would be barred from doing "current" (say less than 5 years old) tracks at less than the 80-90 cents per track for DRM-less. Big plus for the record co's is that they'd not only get a cheap (for them) revenue stream and it'd help to break the stranglehold that iTunes has presently. It'd also be a good arrangement for Creative etc who don't do that well from iTunes! The flipside is that the "back catalogue" stuff - say Wham (remember them?), Meatloaf, Deep Purple, etc could be at a comfortable pricing which means that there might still be revenue being generated from these older assets, (make a nice change from the current way - issuing countless "Best Of..." and ".... Remixed" compilations).

    Unfortunately, we don't live in a just and fair world - so the current vendetta between AllOf and record co's will just continue unabated, with us poor (in BOTH senses of the phrase) customers stuck in the middle. Alas!

  9. Tim Schomer

    I Wonder...

    ...how many servers AllOfMP3 could fit into Antigua, they wouldn't need to bother whether the were legal then, that might make the tracks even cheaper! (Ah well, it's nice to dream....)

  10. steev

    Awesome news!

    This is great! I am so pleased that people all over the world can carry on purchasing products (that i have paid nearly £100k to produce and promote) for next to nothing! And the best thing of all is that I have never received a royalty cheque, never had so much as a 'by your leave' from these pirates to sell copies of my products! How fkn marvellous!

    Digital music costs just as much to produce and promote as physical products (barring courier costs) - obviously physical cds cost more than bandwidth but in terms of getting acts into the studio, paying for the promotion, and the tours etc etc its the same

    If someone ripped off your software and sold it for pence on the net, im damn sure people would be up in arms, but as its music - Hey! No worries! Music for all for free!!

    This makes me madder than a mad thing. You might say, Ok, if a major label loses 1000 sales to a pirate in Russia, so what - what about the same for an independent label? And what about the fact that the majors do less business now with new forms of music because of just this problem? This kind of short termism isnt destroying the music business...its destroying innovation.

    I wish people would grow up and take responsibility for their own actions, rather than thinking with their wallet. And i also hope for world peace, an end to poverty and SOX compliant systems. (thats irony btw)

    steev

  11. Phil

    Commodity, Art?

    >> First music, like any creative art, isn't a commodity.

    Judging by the rate that undifferentiated electronic popular music is produced, and for the most part disappears without trace shortly afterwards, it is absolutely a commodity. The question is whether it is creative art.

  12. Caspian Prince

    Re: Awesome news!

    Steev, it may have escaped your attention but the reason why we use Allofmp3.com is because it gives us what we want, and none of the other online music vendors do. The others:

    1. Give us stuff recorded at shitty bitrates in formats we don't want

    2. Charge ridiculous money for the music and what's more they price fix it so the Yanks get charged half as much. Internet global economy my arse.

    3. Encumber the music in extremely annoying DRM.

    4. Don't even have half the music that allofmp3.com has

    So perhaps if Napster, iTunes, etc. actually got their act together and *competed* by addressing those four points there wouldn't be problem, hmm?

  13. kevin

    The real problem..

    ..is that record companies are finding themselves less and less necessary in today's world, but fighting tooth and nail to maintain their strangle hold. We live in a time where anyone can record and post an MP3 or other format online and sell direct to the customer almost instantly.

    Studio recording equipment is relatively cheap to buy or rent and you don't need to produce a physical album in high volumes. Yes there's CDs, but face fact, in another 10 years you'll look at a music CD like we now all look at records and cassettes. Our kids are not going to be carrying around CDs.

    At some point more people are going to realize that record labels are just a bloated middle man stealing all the profits from the artist. If you subtract the huge percentage the record label is keeping for itself music becomes much, much cheaper.

  14. dordoka

    Re: Awesome news!

    Hi Steve

    do you mean that an artist will get what he deserves just because RIAA gets the money??

    If the law in Russia just forces you to pay compensation to Russian RIAA (ROS) Allofmp3s is fscking legal, no matter how much you cry about it.

    In any case, RIAA should sue ROS if they don't get the royalties transferred over to the US.

    Some US people really *need* to understand that they do not fscking rule the world, they're just being lucky for several decades. If you told anyone in 1900 that US would be the world's superpower in 2000 they would just think you were mental m8.

    As some other reader posted, that might change anytime... in 10 years China might be the leader.

    Answering to others, and keeping the "hey US people climb down the top of the world" tendence, VISA or MasterCard are not the only ways to transfer money nowadays.

    I agree with Caspian Prince: they do not only have the best price, they also have the best service. You can choose compression rates, format and everything is tailored to the likes of the customer. And they even charge you in a fear way: by kilobyte downloaded.

    ddka

  15. steev

    Re: Awesome News

    Dear Caspian Prince

    Its thievery I tell thee!

    I sell direct to the public at £3.99 for 320kbps MP3s (with Ogg, Flac and ISO on the way), but still, its impossible to compete with 30 pence a copy from an alleged crook in Russia. I think i need to caveat this with the fact that we're a mid sized UK independent. Not some faceless corporate.

    I would be absolutely happy to licence copyrighted works to the guys in Russia (and promote it in the UK so you can actually buy it legally) if they ACTUALLY sent me a share of the royalties. I have never provided my material to them, yet they are selling it. So every penny you spend with these guys goes to them. Not a single penny comes back to the artist who made the music in the first place.

    There is NOTHING wrong with free market economics, but this isnt a free market. Its thievery.

    Do you use hacked software with the same argument?

  16. Graham

    Why Bother?

    The AllOfMp3 site is ridiculous - artists obviously aren't getting paid from the sale of their music (or at best, are getting paid a pittance). Whether it's legal in Russia or not is irrelevant. If you'd like to contribute to an artist when buying their music, buy it from a shop which is going to end up giving them money. If not, download the music for free. Why would you want to give some Russian chaps your money instead?

  17. Chads

    @Caspian

    Agree with the other points but you missed off..

    The others:

    5. Pay the creators

    If allofmp3 paid a royalty collection agency which actually passed the money on there wouldn't be a problem.

    It's true (@b shubin) that recording costs have fallen (~3500ukp for the last album I was involved in, funded by the artists) and distribution costs are virtually zilch, but promotion is still hugely expensive and allofmp3 pays absolutely nothing back to cover it.

    Please remember that you are not just ripping off the fat cats of the Big 3 labels here. You're also ripping off the small labels and independent artists. The majors still have the money to survive this kind of thing. The small operators don't.

  18. Nick Wallis

    Artists not being paid.

    The British equivalent of ROMS does a similarly shoddy job. There was an online list somewhere of artists that were not being paid by the UK MCPS-PRS organisations. It was rather large

  19. Wade Burchette Silver badge

    Even on iTunes, artists aren't getting paid

    Unless you are on an indie label or a big time band, all the profits go to the RIAA and the label anyway. If we are cheating anybody, we are not cheating the artists but the ones who cheat the artists. Furthermore, ever notice how bands once they get big conveniently disappear. The music industry knows how to make money by making sure bands don't get too big and thus actually make money off music sales.

    The only ones who lose are crooked labels. Artists should be paid, it is just the big labels are ones not doing it, and not AllofMP3.

  20. Dave

    @Chads

    "If allofmp3 paid a royalty collection agency which actually passed the money on there wouldn't be a problem."

    They do. the RIAA will not take the money offered them. I've dropped a fair amount in the bucket for songs I wouldn't even consider buying from that joke of a site, iTunes. I wouldn't consider buying anything from iTunes period. What a total waste of money. I might as well buy the CD, as the prices are the same, rip it at a *substantially* better bitrate, and not infected with the DRM virus.

  21. steev

    P2P

    I would rather that people just sent us £2 for each album they download off limewire, or bit torrent. I dont have any problem with people listening to music, or getting it at a great price regardless of the delivery method.

    I do have a problem with people making money off the work artists create without any of it going back to the artist.

    I guess thats the real crux of the problem for me.

    Dordoka - material i own is on i-tunes, i have a contract with them, and they pay us for what they sell (i think its ridiculously priced, and should be drm free but thats their business model) however, i dont have a contract with any of these russian stores, or bit torrent networks or anything.

    If i was given a choice of selling my music through these sites, then i at least could make an informed decision about whether i want that material up there or not. At present i have no choice in the matter. Its there, and i have no recourse to do anything about it. Personally, i dont really mind bit torrent. Its a free for all - i do mind when people start charging for it tho!

    And btw, im not crying about the RIAA or MCPS - im crying about a site selling stuff they dont own!!!

    Is it legal in Russia to sell fake Van Goghs? Or fake currency? Or fake Drugs?

    Then why is it legal to sell unauthorised copies of music? I just dont get it.

  22. T. O'Hara

    Poor artists?

    Once I see Elton John and the music execs begging on the street and Bono stops prattling on about world poverty while jetting all over it, then maybe I'll think twice about downloading (and on the third thought...just continue). In the meantime new, *real* artists have plenty of opportunities to get their music out there and make a living. Those that want to make top dollar using the "old" ways deserve to fail for letting greed drive their creativity. Back to iTuneski...

  23. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    The problem as I see it ...

    ... is the disconnect between what the user pays and what the **real** artist actually gets. There are so many stories about artists getting nothing because of one-sided deals with the big labels, and people getting 'conned' into signing over their copyright that the whole legal music download market is tainted.

    It would be really insteresting to know what the exchange has been between ROMS and the western groups - did ROMS actually offer to pay royalties ? If so, how much ? Did the RIAA etc really turn them down ?

    To steev : you complain about them selling your works, have you actually contacted ROMS and asked for a legitimate licensing arrangement ? No? Do you complain that british radio has the RIGHT to play your works without asking your permission ? I suspect not - though there is the mionor detail of them having to pay compulsory licencing fees for it.

    The biggest thing the 'music industry' (by which I mean the more porminent big bits of it like the RIAA) could do to improve things would be to put their own house in order. If people really though that any sensible part of what they paid would actually go to those that did the work in creating stuff, then the majority would be happy to pay a fair price for it. As it is, people object to paying what they see as extortion money to a bunch of thieves.

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  25. Ilsa Loving

    To all the RIAA appologists

    I find it comical that so many people are complaining about the "unfairness" of a allofmp3.com.

    First of all, they *are* offering royalty payments for their sales. But they are being ignored. Secondly, the fact that allofmp3.com is so popular is a testament to how the RIAA has utterly abused their position. CDs cost a fraction of what casettes used to cost to manufacture, yet they cost more to buy. Music *quality* has been dropping like a stone, but in the talent that is being offered as well as the recording quality (you can research the "loudness war" yourself).

    You people seem to make this assumption that if allofmp3.com charged the 'correct' amount and gave it all to the RIAA, that the relevant artists would paid. It's been pretty well established that that is a bald faced lie. RIAA goes out of their way to screw both the artist AND the consumer. So even *trying* to use the "shafting the artist" argument makes you either naive at best, or an illegitimate RIAA shill at worst.

  26. David

    Credit card payments

    I thought I saw an article somewhere that a court (not sure in what country) had ruled that the refusal of the credit card companies to process orders was, in fact, illegal.

  27. Joe

    The truth?

    Everyone has their own version of the truth.

    It's good to see someone from an independent label putting their point across - these are the guys who this sort of thing hurts!

    Regarding the bigwigs of the music industry, as T O'Hara says, I don't see Elton John begging on the street, and have you ever seen the amount of fairy dust flying around at the Brits? Those people aren't short of cash.

    The RIAA wouldn't accept AllOfMP3's money even if it was being offered (and I'm not sure that it is, despite what they say!). It would disrupt their bloated overpriced business model, which is no good for them. 30p a track? That wouldn't pay for their coke and champagne and mansions!

    I suppose you could trace this back to capitalism - why should a musician (or footballer, or stockbroker) be entitled to a lavish lifestyle when nurses and firemen must scrimp and save?

  28. b shubin

    Subscription models

    personally, never used iTuneski, but i am an eMusic subscriber.

    for about 30 cents a track, i can download individual tracks, the bit rate varies but is mostly pretty good, and there is no DRM.

    my music taste doesn't follow the mass market anyway (and i don't eat at McDonalds, either), so no loss there, and everybody is happy, especially me.

    never bought music from iTunes (bought Daily Show and Colbert Report, though). DRM is a dealbreaker for me, generally. i bought Richard Dawkins on mp3 just to avoid DRM.

    and i wouldn't touch the new Napster (or any of its imitators) with a barge-pole.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A few errors

    First the idea that arguing that music is a commodity is absolutely bogus: "Judging by the rate that undifferentiated electronic popular music...it is absolutely a commodity" That's a value judgement you can't definitively prove. A commodity is something that is indistinguishable from where it comes from. Things like salt, sugar and wheat are commodities. Unless you're completely fucking deaf, blind or dead, music cannot possibly be described that way.

    Second, "slander" is something that's spoken that's untrue. An untruth that's been written is libel. It would be good if you knew the difference first.

    If you read the small print of your credit card agreements you'll find MasterCard or Visa always reserve the right to refuse any transaction; you agree to this when you sign up. Any idea that you have a "right" for them to process any transaction is pure fantasy.

    Anyone that thinks allofmp3.com is going to end the stranglehold of the record industry is crazy, through one way or another they'll be defeated and all you've done is turn the screw tighter on the public. I think it's time people who used allofmp3.com just admitted they really don't want to pay for music at all and their arguments protesting its legality is pure smoke and mirrors. You're fooling no one.

  30. Bill Coleman

    @steev re: Business Model

    Steev - I agree whole-heartedly with you. Atrists and lables deserve to be paid. If you think the cost is too much, then just don't buy - it doesnt give you the right to steal!!! And to put my money where my mouth is I don't own any illegally gotten music in my modest 30gig collection. But my respect for the artist is not shared and ultimately the free market economics will win out. This thing cannot be stopped, merely postponed. You are right, the entire viability of the music industry as it stands is at stake. But consider this:

    1. The music industry as it stands is corrupt to the core (big labels anyway) - they rip the artist off (as I'm sure you are aware, the recording contract money is a loan which must be paid back by the artist and for their trouble they become ill-paid slaves to the label, most artists with levels of debt that they can never afford to pay off). They also rip the consumer off. €15 for a chart CD, really??? Do they deserve to survive in their current form?

    2. The business model is now irrelevant. Labels are now effectively middle-men where middle men are no longer needed. Physical publishing is now free and instantaneous and payment for songs is doomed. People will always crave new music. Yet promotion and recording costs still exist as does the need of artists to make a living.

    So the race is on as to who can adapt the quickest. CD sales are not the only for of revenue. Concert takings, merchandise, sponsorships and endorsements, appearances etc are quickly becoming the most profitable areas. Labels need to recognise that their new role in the industry is as managers / promoters of music - living from commissions. Music will be free. And all the lawsuits, ISP traffic shaping, morality bashing and general p*ssing and moaning in the world is not going to stop it. This is pure Charles Darwin: Adapt or die.

  31. Gorgone

    Russian Court Case a Red Herring

    The service was illegal when it closed and is illegal now. I expect Media Services are simply using the publicity around the acquittal to infer that there was some doubt over the service's illegaillity - in time with a flashy relaunch. It seems the court case collapsed owing to a poor case from the prosecution, and an inability to link the boss with the company, Doesn't mean the company is trading legally.

  32. Cambrasa

    Dear steev,

    A free market is exactly what this is. If you choose to create a "free good" (look up the economic definition) then you should not be surprised that it's being sold for nothing or next to nothing. This is what happens to a free good in a free market. The reason you could charge £1 per song in the pre-globalisation era was only because the music market was everything but free. It was heavily monopolised by the state and by record companies.

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